J.C. Stevens was a London Auction House which specialised in the sale of natural history specimens, and also sold 'curiosities' and antiquities. Frederick Horniman and the Horniman Museum acquired numerous objects from all over the world through J.C. Stevens from 1886 through to the 1920s.
The company was founded in circa 1759 by the bookseller Samuel Patterson, and was taken over by Thomas of Foster Lane in 1824. John Crace Stevens joined the firm as a partner in 1831. The company name was changed to J. C. Stevens in 1834, and remained the same for the rest of the firm's history, even after John's' death in 1859. John's brother Samuel (1817 - 1899) joined the firm as a partner in 1840, and left in 1848 to set up the Natural History Agency, becoming a well-respected entomologist and collector. After John's death, Samuel took over the care of the company again for several years until John's son Henry (1843 - 1925) was old enough to inherit the business. The firm continued after Henry's death, but closed in the 1940s as the popularity of natural history sales waned.
The Horniman Museum’s historical file contains several catalogues for the auctions by ‘Mr J.C. Stevens At his Great Rooms, 38, King Street, Covent Garden.’